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The Register's Chad Leistikow and Andy Hamilton break down Iowa's recruits.

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Tom Lemming has traveled the country for 36 years as a high school football recruiting analyst. He has a good feel for what goes on during the decision-making process.

"When you talk to kids, there's three things they want," Lemming said. "First, how many guys do you put in the NFL? The second is girls. The third thing is facilities, because they're going to be living half their college lives there."

Which brings us to Iowa's new football operations center, an investment that makes an appealing statement in today's facility arms race.

"The better the facilities are, the more likely you are to get top-notch players," said Lemming, who was in the building last month. "Iowa's is as good as anybody's."

The impact of the $55 million project is expected to be felt for years to come.

"It's a facility that I think a lot of other people in the country would be very envious of," said Seth Wallace, Iowa's recruiting coordinator.

Gerry DiNardo of the Big Ten Network also came away impressed.

"I think facilities are an indication of a school being committed to a program," said DiNardo, a former head coach in the SEC and Big Ten. "Iowa has always had a very good practice field situation. But the football ops building was substandard, the indoor facility was substandard. And now they're not."

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A look inside Iowa football's new facility, by WHO-TV. WHO-TV

The impact of the new facility didn't play much of a role in this year's class that signs national letters of intent Wednesday, because most of the recruiting work was done before the doors opened.

The stars are rarely out in Iowa City when it comes to recruiting, and this season is no different. According to Rivals.com, center James Daniels is the Hawkeyes' lone four-star addition.

"I think he could become an all-American lineman," Lemming said. "A big-time ballplayer. Having his brother (LeShun, a running back) helped them, because he could have gone just about anywhere."

Rivals ranks this class 51st nationally as of Tuesday, with 14 three-star commitments including offensive linemen Landan and Levi Paulsen from Woodbury Central.

"If they played in Chicago, they'd get a ton of publicity," said Lemming, who also called three-star running back Karan Higdon from Sarasota, Fla., "a major catch."

Notre Dame and Michigan tried to flip Higdon's commitment. But the 5-foot-10, 190-pounder is expected to stay with Iowa. And he could be the home-run running back the Hawkeyes have been missing.

"He can get lost behind Iowa's big linemen," Lemming said. "He's got great vision, balance and burst. I think he'll be a star at Iowa immediately."

Iowa has traditionally been a developmental program under coach Kirk Ferentz, bringing in prospects and molding them into players.

RYAN BOYLE: Ready for QB competition at Iowa

Since 2002, Rivals and Scout.com have ranked Iowa's recruiting class inside the top 30 nationally just twice. Over that time, Iowa has signed two five-star prospects, 36 four stars and 150 three stars according to Rivals. And four five-star, 40 four-star and 142 three-star prospects according to Scout.

Consensus all-American offensive lineman Brandon Scherff and defensive lineman Carl Davis, both projected as first-round NFL draft picks this spring, were three-star prospects. Of the 32 players Iowa has had drafted since 2007, 12 were two stars, 14 were three stars and six were four stars according to Rivals.

Will the new facility help bring brighter stars to Iowa City?

"They've put a lot of guys in the NFL," Lemming said. "They've got girls. And they've got beautiful facilities now. I think you'll see an upgrade talent wise."

Hawkeye columnist Rick Brown is a 10-time Iowa Sportswriter of the Year. Follow him on Twitter: @ByRickBrown.

IOWA'S EXPECTED SIGNEES

Name

School/hometown

Ht

Wt

Pos.

Ryan Boyle

Dowling Catholic HS, West Des Moines

6-1

215

QB

Drew Cook

Regina HS, Iowa City

6-5

218

ATH

James Daniels*

Harding HS, Warren, Ohio

6-4

275

OL

Adrian Falconer

Leesburg (Fla.) HS

6-1

185

WR

Karan Higdon

Riverview HS, Sarasota, Fla.

5-10

190

RB

Jack Hockaday

Maroa-Forsyth HS, Maroa, IL

6-0

205

ATH

Garret Jansen

Pella HS, Pella

6-1

250

DT

Justin Jinning

The Colony (Texas) HS

6-1

210

LB

Anthony Nelson

Waukee HS, Waukee

6-6

210

DE

Jacob Newborg

West Lyon HS, Inwood

6-3

271

DT

Emmanuel Ogwo

Horn HS, Mesquite, Texas

6-0

175

WR

Michael Ojemudia

Harrison HS, Farmington Hills, Mich.

6-2

190

LB

Landan Paulsen

Woodbury Central HS, Moville

6-6

285

OL

Levi Paulsen

Woodbury Central HS, Moville

6-6

275

OL

Brady Reiff*

Parkston (S.D.) HS

6-4

215

DE

Michael Slater

Parkway Central HS, Chesterfield, Mo.

6-3

265

DE

Jerminic Smith

South Garland HS, Garland, Texas

6-1

175

WR

Nate Vejvoda

Providence Catholic HS, New Lenox, Ill.

6-5

215

TE

Brett Waechter*

H.M.S. HS, Hartley

6-5

265

OL

Nick Wilson

Dowling Catholic HS, West Des Moines

6-2

205

ATH

*—already signed letter of intent

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